GameStop-Who’s Going To Be In Charge? And, Of What?

Via the WSJ via Marginal Revolution: ‘GameStop Mania Reveals Power Shift on Wall Street—and the Pros Are Reeling.’

Please, Dear Reader, think about Twitter: With your own capital investment of an average $200-400 for a mobile device, you can install Twitter’s ‘free’ (you’re the product) software onto your device. The software will access the hardware (camera, video) as well as other software, so that you can upload what you’ve recorded onto their platform. Additionally, the barrier to entry is low enough for the UI (user interface) to allow searching all kinds of topics, engaging similar users (others with the same low costs to entry).

Suddenly, many people who once needed much higher capital investment (labor costs, professional cameras, professional skills, licenses, lobbyists, lawyers etc) at least have the illusion of being in competition with many bigger players, while communicating with similar smaller ones.

Meanwhile, the programmers, developers, management, lobbyists, lawyers and politically connected people at Twitter have become new big players of a sort (while it lasts). More organized (and politically/ideologically favored) individuals and groups seem to influence more, and faster.

Analogously, in my mind, and hopefully in reality, some investor figured out that GameStop was being incorrectly valued by big players. With this knowledge, and with knowledge-sharing on a platform of smaller players, a group of people mobilized (individuals and smaller groups can’t usually compete at scale nor directly with the bigger players).

We’ve been rearranging our society and institutions around increasingly technically mediated channels, so those with more IQ capital, knowledge of hardware/software capital, and social capital are using these channels for all the other things people do: Knowledge, sex, love, friendship, power, influence, fame, pride, vanity etc.

On that note, I don’t buy into many ‘liberatory’ and leveling equality claims. We have hierarchies for lots of reasons, and we have authority for lots of reasons (hopefully legitimate authority aligned with the best among us and the best within us, constrained by the right incentives).

There’s definitely a lot of change going on right now, but how is the actual power being leveraged and authority being used?

Who’s going to be in charge? And, of what?

Personally, I would love to see alternatives to information-sharing than Twitter, possessing similar functionality, but with deeper roots to freedom of thought and expression (yeah, you’ll probably have to pay something):

Some quotations on what I’m taking to be the same old human nature:

Do you trust those following their moral lights to allow you to follow yours?

“The moral world has no particular objection to vice, but an insuperable repugnance to hearing vice called by its proper name.”

William Makepeace Thackeray

Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue

La Rochefoucauld


Repost-From The Wall Street Journal: Denver’s Mustang Or ‘Devil Horse’

Full post here.  (Slideshow included).

I’ve had to think a fair amount about art lately (life could be worse), so I thought I’d post this despite the current national frenzy for the importance of (A)rt.

The sculptor, Luis Jimenez is:

“…a widely honored artist known for melding Chicano themes and Western history in exuberant sculpture.”

and on this sculpture:

“The eyes are light-emitting diodes, which burn red like taillights. They are an homage to Mr. Jimenez’s father, who ran a neon-sign studio in El Paso, Texas... “

That could work.  Are we getting close to kitsch art and possibly Chupacabra territory here?  Do the skill and artistry transcend that?

It seems powerful, serious and proud…a little scary even…a mythic figure.  Is it possible Jimenez was poking fun at the serious belief people have in such figures and myths?   Maybe not.

DSC_0093 by robvann_99.

by robvann_99

Sad fact:  “He was killed on June 13, 2006, in his studio when a large piece, a mustang intended for Denver International Airport, fell on him severing an artery in his leg.”

Also On This Site:  Joan Miro: WomanGoya’s ColossusGoya’s Fight With Cudgels… Goethe’s Color Theory: Artists And ThinkersSome Quotes From Kant And A Visual Exercise

A Reaction To Jeff Koons ‘St John The Baptist’

Denis Dutton suggests art could head towards Darwin (and may offer new direction from the troubles of the modern art aimlessness and shallow depth) Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’

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From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”

Full piece here.

‘Mr. Obama sketched out a limited American military role, saying the U.S. would help set the stage “for the international community to act together,” and that there wouldn’t be any American troops on the ground’

Perhaps there will be no troops on the ground.  Perhaps there will.

Obama seems to be taking the liberal internationalist, coalition-building approach, which has its dangers.  Is this, in fact, what he’s even doing…does anyone know about long-term strategy?  This administration’s delays in preparing strategy are concerning.

Also On This Site:   From CSIS: ‘Audio: Arnaud De Borchgrave on Muammar el-Qaddafi and Continuing Unrest in Libya’From The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’ From Abu Muqawama: ‘Mubarak And Me’Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: ‘Mubaraks, Mamelukes, Modernizers and Muslims’Fareed Zakaria At Time: ‘Why There’s No Turning Back in the Middle East’

From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanFrom CSIS: ‘Turmoil In The Middle-East’From The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’

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From The WSJ Weekend Journal-Theodore Dalrymple: “Man Vs. Mutt”

Full article here.

Dalrymple makes some reasonable points:

“The one kind of reform that America should avoid is one that is imposed uniformly upon the whole country, with a vast central bureaucracy. No nation in the world is more fortunate than America in its suitability for testing various possible solutions”

but Dalrymple also admittedly has a stake in the claim:

“I also want, wherever I am, the Americans to go on paying for the great majority of the world’s progress in medical research and technological innovation by the preposterous expense of their system.”

Agreed. There’s a lot of European free-riding.  Also:

“I mistrust the fact that, while those people who work for commercial companies (rightly) have to declare their interests in writing in medical journals, those who work for governmental agencies do not do so: as if government agencies had not interests of their own, and worked only for the common good.”

Indeed.  The debate is heated.  The left, politically, is framing the debate and steering the conversation.  The right is flailing, and seems ideologically defensive.  

See Also On This Site:  From Becker-Posner: Mortality From Disease And The American Health-Care System…From The New Yorker: Atul Gawande On Health Care-”The Cost Conundrum”…From Clive Crook: Is Health Care Reform On Track?

Theodore Dalrymple In The City Journal: Atheism’s Problems

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